Del Mar officials, residents ask governor to restrict beach access for July 4

Del Mar lifeguards monitored beaches using drones when beaches were closed in March.
Del Mar lifeguards monitored beaches using drones when beaches were closed in March.
(City of Del Mar )

Five Del Mar residents, including the city’s deputy mayor and a council member, have asked the governor to restrict beach access to exercise only ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

As neighboring counties close their beaches for the holiday weekend to avoid large crowds and potential COVID-19 outbreaks, San Diego County beaches will remain open.

“An Exercise Only policy will reinforce the requirement to wear face coverings in public spaces and maintain 6-foot distance without closing the beaches to everyone,” the letter states. “Exercise Only will encourage healthy and safe outdoor activity.

“We ask you to take this measure as a way to encourage people to stay near home and find ways to celebrate the holiday safely,” the letter continued.

The letter was signed by Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland, City Councilman Dwight Worden, Scripps Research professors Donald Mosier and Francis Chasari, and Humetrix CEO Bettina Experton.

They cited the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the “very few” number of people in Del Mar who wear masks, and an expected influx of visitors for the holiday weekend as reasons to restrict beach access.

“I’m quite concerned there’s going to be more pressure on Del Mar than there would normally be, and normally being Fourth of July there’s already a lot of pressure,” Worden said in a phone interview.

He and the letter’s other signatories also said they were opposed to a full closure because some residents have no air conditioning and rely on the beaches for fresh air and exercise.

A post on the city of Del Mar’s website said residents should expect “crowded beaches and heavy demands on parking, especially as COVID-19 precautions have triggered the closure of parking lots at nearby State-controlled beaches.”

“Del Mar is committed to following public health orders,” the city website reads. “We ask that our residents and visitors do the same: Wear a face covering, keep six feet of distance from non-household members, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you feel sick.”